The Amazon River, is just a bit shorter than the Nile but in terms of quantity of water, it is the largest river in the world. It was the Spanish conquerors who named the river after they were soundly defeated by a tribe of female warriors there from the Icamiaba tribe, reminding them of the Amazonian women.
Greek mythology tells us the story (myth?) about a race of female warriors called the Amazons, who dwelt in the region of modern-day Ukraine. There were no men allowed to live together with them but in order to continue their race, once a year, these women would visit a nearby tribe called Gargareans. After having sexual intercourse with them, the women would return home; they would keep all baby girls that were born, but the male babies were either killed, sent to their fathers, or left in a forest to die.
The latest brilliant superheroine movie Wonder Woman had me thrilled to bits. I went with a tentative enthusiasm, tinged with a lot of wariness that this movie would also have tokenistic and one dimensional female characters as is usually the case and it was all I could do to stop cheering in the theatre when my fears did not come true!
It is not a perfect film (and many reviewers have rightly pointed out its lack of intersectionality and a very limited view of feminism).
However, just its existence is such a breath of fresh air! I remember literally cringing at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ms Pepper in the Iron Man series. X Men was somewhat better with Storm and Mystique and Jean Gray, but I have not seen a film named after and centered only on an empowered woman in a very, very long time ! The last Hollywood movie I saw that was even named after a woman was probably Mrs Doubtfire. And that as you may know is the name taken by Robin Williams when he is in drag pretending to be a baby sitter.
The white man in the movie is an ‘almost woke’ man. Still doing a bit of mansplaining, ‘let me protect you and tell you what to do’ stuff, but getting to the right place soon.
The actress Gal Gadot was apparently 5 months pregnant during the shooting of some scenes and had to use a green screen on her abdomen. It would have been interesting if they HAD showed her pregnant though, or choosing not to be. Hmm, a whole new movie is possible already !
Yes, I did have a small nagging doubt that like #femvertising maybe they are just pandering to a growing demand for women empowerment tropes or situations for the sake of the audience.
But even if so, I think it opens a door that will not be easy to close again.
No matter how cheesy, but seeing the old white male War God being defeated by this fierce- -yet- kind new feminine order was a real thrill. They might as well as done some sky writing there saying “Smash the Patriarchy!”
The young women I have the privilege of working with, across Asia, in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Iran, Indonesia, Nepal, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam who are speaking out against controls on women’s bodies, who are helping other women find safe options, are all wonder women too, leading the rising tide of Wonder Women, saving the world, one action at a time.
Wonder women. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them !